Board of DirectorsMeet our wonderful Board of Directors!
Jim Burge joined the CASA Board of Directors in 2015 after serving on the Finance Committee beginning in October 2014. He played a significant role facilitating development of the recently completed Strategic Plan. Jim has extensive experience in corporate planning, financial analysis, business development and mergers and acquisitions. He worked for Smart & Final for 17 years as Vice President, Strategic Planning and later served as Director of Corporate Development for Farmer Brothers Coffee. He began his career with Marriott Corporation after receiving an MBA degree from UCLA.
Jim and his wife, Julie, have lived in Santa Barbara since 1990. Their two sons, Andrew and David, grew up in Santa Barbara attending public schools. Jim is currently assisting David and his nephew James with their start-up of Pure Order Brewing, a local craft microbrewery.
Heather Ames joined the board of CASA in 2017. For the past 10 years, she has been employed at Montecito Bank and Trust and serves on the senior leadership team as the SVP/Director of Human Resources leading the Human Resources and the Organizational Learning Departments. She has an extensive background in Human Resources including experience in succession planning, career and leadership development, employee relations and workplace investigations, talent acquisition, compensation programs as well as leading workplace engagement programs. Heather obtained her Human Resources Management Certificate through UCSB Extension Program and is an active member of Santa Barbara Human Resources Association (SBHRA) and Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Born in Santa Barbara, she enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering for many local organizations. She has served on the Board of Santa Barbara Girls and Boys Club, local school site councils and has supported many non-profit organizations including United Way, NatureTrak, Old Yeller Rescue Ranch and Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society.
Heather with her husband Rich and their four children currently reside in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley where they both grew up and graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. Her passions include spending time outdoors, family time and volunteering in her community.
Patty Santiago joined the board of CASA in 2013 after retiring from a long career in education. Originally from Wisconsin, Patty attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated from Carroll College. She has been a resident of Santa Barbara for over 30 years after moving here to attend the teaching credential program at UCSB. She was a teacher at Franklin and Peabody schools in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista school in Goleta.
After many years of teaching, she returned to UCSB for a Master’s degree in educational administration. She then served as an assistant principal at Peabody and La Cumbre Junior High School and principal at Washington School in Santa Barbara. The past 7 years she was the principal at La Patera School in Goleta. Her many years of working with children was one of the motivating factors for joining the CASA board.
In addition to serving on the CASA board, Patty has worked with the United for Literacy Committee at the United Way. She also volunteers at Dos Pueblos High School working with senior English AP students. She has three adult children, all of who attended local schools, who live in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
Martin Lynch joined the Board in 2014. He has an extensive background in finance. He began his career with Price Waterhouse in Chicago, serving as an Audit Manager. Over the following 35 years he was Chief Financial Officer of a number of public and private companies including Tiger International, Duty Free Shoppers, and Smart & Final. Most recently he was a Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee on the Board of Farmer Brothers Coffee. He was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Illinois and California.
Born and raised in Chicago, Marty earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from De Paul University. His career moved him from Chicago to Los Angeles, then Honolulu and San Francisco before reaching Santa Barbara in 1989. Marty met his wife Deborah in Santa Barbara, a city they both love. They share and cherish six children and eight grandchildren. In addition to serving as staff for their two cats the Lynch’s enjoy travel, golf, hiking and reading.
Tony Papa joined the board of directors in 2009. He is a seasoned chief executive and corporate advisor. He is the founder and CEO of Ciralta, Inc. He is also chairman and co-founder of Impulse
Communications, a provider of business telephone and internet services.
Born and raised in New York, Tony and his wife Sabrina moved to Santa Barbara in 1994. They have two adult children, Michael and Lindsay. Tony is a staff commodore of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and chairman of the club’s Long Range Planning and Advisory Committee. He is active in the sailing community and has served as chairman for several yachting charity events.
Tony previously served as the local committee chair for the Adventure Leadership Program (ALP) sponsored by Minnesota-based Wilderness Inquiry. He served as a board member for the Girl Scouts of Tres Condados, during which time he helped the organization reintroduce the Mariners program in Santa Barbara, and as a director for the Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation.
After graduating from Cal Poly with a B.A. and M.A. in 1969, he started his career on an Indian reservation in Covelo, CA. After one year of teaching and coaching, he was called to active duty in the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant. Following one year stationed at Fort Knox, KY, Jeff was deployed to Vietnam. Upon returning in December of 1971, Jeff resumed his teaching and coaching career in Covelo and then in 1973 moved to Brawley, CA where he spent one year, teaching and coaching at Brawley High School.
In 1974, Jeff, Linda, and their one-year-old child Nicole moved to Santa Maria, where they have resided since. From 1975-1984, he was a teacher, coach, counselor, athletic director and administrator at St. Joseph High School. In 1984 he accepted a position as Assistant Principal at Santa Maria High School. He remained at SMHS until 2000, spending his last nine years as Principal. In June 2000, he was appointed Superintendent where he served until his retirement in June of 2009.
Over the course of his time in Santa Maria, Jeff has served on a number of boards and been a member of several community groups, including United Way, Fighting Back, SELPA of Santa Barbara County Education, Community Advisory Committee of the Santa Maria City Police Department, California Association of School Administrators, High School Network of California and Meals on Wheels.
Julie Henley is a consultant and advisor to early stage technology companies. Her engagements focus on strategic planning, optimizing Product and Engineering teams, coaching and mentoring, facilitating large projects, tackling communication gaps and connecting people along the way. Julie has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Prior to moving to Santa Barbara, Julie served as a Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club in Venice for 5 years.
Nancy Iarossi moved to Santa Maria in 1990 when her husband was transferred to the Central Coast from Washington, D.C., by the federal government. Nancy received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Social Science from Montclair State University and Master's in Education from George Mason University. In 2013, Nancy retired from the Santa Maria-Bonita School District (SMBSD) and spent three years as a teacher on special assignment, working as a mentor with new SMBSD teachers in the Santa Barbara County Beginning Teacher Program (BTSA). She continued working for the county as a BTSA instructor from 2000 until 2013, after which she returned to the classroom.
Nancy has served as president of the Santa Maria Elementary Education Association (SMEEA), a CTA-affiliated teachers' union local chapter, and negotiator for SMEEA from 1995-2013. She continues to work as a substitute teacher for SMBSD and is currently on the board of Delta Kappa Gamma society International, Eta Lambda chapter, an international organization dedicated to impacting education around the world.
Veronica Sandoval has more than 21 years of experience working for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and currently serves as the Administrator for the Chumash Foundation. In her role as the Administrator, she is responsible for managing the tribe's philanthropic programs including administering grants, sponsorships, and in-kind donations to local nonprofit organizations, overseeing multi-year commitments, developing community partnerships, and overseeing the employee volunteer program - Team Chumash. Sandoval has a long history in the Santa Ynez Valley and descents from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Active in both her tribal community and the local community Sandoval was currently re-elected to the College School District Board of Trustees, a position she has held since 2011.
Sandoval also served as a board member for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County from 2013 until 2015. In 2015 she stepped down when she was appointed to the Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force. As a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor's appointee, Sandoval along with three other Task Force members were responsible for examining the Child Welfare System to ensure that it was performing at its highest level to serve Santa Barbara County foster youth. Sandoval is a former foster turned adoptive parent and rejoined the CASA board in November 2016 to continue the important work of advocating for Santa Barbara County's most vulnerable children.
After receiving his Ph.D. in chemistry from Western Michigan University, Jack worked for BASF as a research scientist and then as a business development manager. After serving in Germany for three years, he came to Santa Barbara in 1996 with his wife Anita and his infant daughter to manage an acquisition BASF he had made here. In 1998 he joined his wife in her new consulting firm in the pharmaceutical industry, Cychem, Inc. In 2008 they sold Cychem and Jack then retired in 2009.
Since then Jack has been significantly involved with volunteer work including CASA, the Fighting Back Mentor Program (CADA), the Food Bank, and the PTA’s of Goleta Valley Junior High and Dos Pueblos High School. He currently is a Board member of Bodhi Path Buddhist Center and heads the Nutrition Task Force (NTF) at Dos Pueblos High School. NTF’s goal is to ensure that all students are receiving sufficient nutrition. Jack is an active cyclist and is a member of the WLPA bike group.
Virginia Benson Wigle
For over twenty-five years, Virginia Benson Wigle worked in the Santa Barbara non-profit sector, most recently serving as Vice President of Education for Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo. In her twenty year tenure with Planned Parenthood, Virginia served two terms on the California State legislative committee for Planned Parenthood affiliates, collaborated in writing and managing private, county, and federal grants, and developed and implemented health programs throughout the central coast. She participated and organized several local non-profit and school district steering committees including the Santa Barbara and Ventura County Public Health HIV/AIDS Taskforce, Central Coast Coalition for Responsible Parenting, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Teen Task Force. Prior to working for Planned Parenthood, Virginia worked for the Rape Crisis Center and volunteered at the Shelter Services for Women. She served as a board member for the Carpinteria Lou Grant Parent/Child Workshop and the Carpinteria Education Foundation.
Virginia graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a degree in History and Art History. She currently lives in Santa Barbara with her husband John, and daughter, Ella.
Deann brings over 20 years of non-profit experience with her to the Board of CASA. Her positions have included; Director of Expansion for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, multiple Board and Volunteer posts as well as Chairing local fundraisers including those for the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Resource Center and All Saints By The Sea Preschool. Her purview at Starlight included the formation of steering committees, board development, media relations, marketing and program development.
For ten years she owned her own handbag business and sold it when she and her husband started a family. She recently finished her Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology and has a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Deann lives in Montecito with her husband and two children, who are 6 and 8 years old.